Who decides whether moms return to work and how should dads do their work differently?
In my experience as a pastor it’s the women who worry about whether or not they should return to work after kids come along. It’s women who feel guilty (whether they do or don’t) and it’s women who talk about it, a lot. And the men? Well I can’t remember having one conversation with a Dad about his views on the matter!
What does this say about the dads? If men are to lead in the home and manage their households well and if men and to love and service and cherish their wives then they can’t abdicate responsibility and delegate it to their wives.
Husbands, whether or not your wife goes back to work is not your decision alone but it is your responsibility alone. Are you playing your part and praying your part?
Four questions then to the dads
1) Husbands are you leaving your wives to make the decision?
2) Husbands are you supporting your wives once the decision has been made. Are you affirming it as a JOINT decision? Are you anticipating and dealing with the guilt your wife is no doubt feeling?
3) Husbands might you be the one responsible for your wife going back to work because you want her money to support a lifestyle you want? Or are you ready to sacrifice, financially to protect her place in the home.
4) Husbands do you know you wife? Do you understand her desires and capacities? Are you speaking the gospel into this situation to ensure that gospel thinking is driving the decision?
How men should do their work
The question of how to ensure that the family thrives isn’t just about the wife’s work but how the husband does his work too. Wouldn’t it be a tragedy for mum to give up work to be available for her children but for Dad to be no-where to be seen. For wives to sacrifice their working lives but husbands not even to change their working patterns when raising the same children.
So 10 reflections for the Dads on the way you work when kids come along.
1. Are you an absentee father? Children need their fathers as much as their mothers. A wife at home is not an excuse for a life at work.
2. Agree a time (if at all possible) when you’ll be home that day. It gives something for your spouse to work towards. Don’t think ‘just another half hour at work’ without also thinking what impact might it have on my wife.
3. Do you get home from work to see your children, play with them, ask them about their day and most importantly read the Bible and pray with them? You need to take the lead in spiritual matters.
4. How do you sacrifice in your work for the sake of your wife and children? Do you think they notice?
5. Are you quick to share responsibilities in the home when you return? Do you look for ways to help out? Do you ensure your wife gets at least a short break from the kids?
6. Are you pro-active in asking your wife how her day has been? Do you take a genuine interest?
7. Do you take a genuine interest in how the children are?
8. What about the weekend. Is your job Monday to Friday but your wife’s job Monday to Sunday? Do you give your wife a break by taking the children out for a morning, day, etc. on a Saturday?
9. Do you lead in the marriage in spiritual matters by praying with and for your wife in her new role?
10. If your wife works for money might you consider dropping a day a week at work to care for your children?
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